Horse grazing with foal in a field

Coronavirus and horses

Our coronavirus information on this page is written in line with guidelines issued by the Westminster government for England. If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you may have to follow additional restrictions. Our advice is a guide for pet owners and should not be taken as legal advice.

Government guidance states that it is rare for animals to catch coronavirus. If they do contract the virus, they often only show mild symptoms and are better within a few days.

There is evidence that coronavirus can pass from infected humans to animals such as dogs, cats and ferrets. However, this does not currently include horses. As a precaution, you should:

  • wash your hands with soap before and after any contact with your horse, their food and bedding
  • avoid contact such as kissing or cuddling

Does my horse need to be vaccinated against Covid-19?

Although there have been media reports of an Covid-19 vaccine for animals, this is not currently available. It also isn’t clear whether this would significantly stop the spread of coronavirus in the community. 

Instead, you should follow good hygiene routines including washing your hands before and after any contact with your horse, their food and bedding.

How to protect your horse from coronavirus

If you have Covid-19, then ideally, you should restrict your contact with animals ie no kissing, cuddling or stroking.

If you have sole responsibility of your horse with no help, then be sure to wash your hands before and after touching them.

What if I think my horse has Covid-19?

If you’re concerned about your horse because they have respiratory or digestive problems and a temperature, you should contact your vet who will decide if they need to be tested or need any treatment.

How can I look after my horse if I have coronavirus?

If you need to self-isolate due to coronavirus you should contact your yard manager. If you care for your horse at home, you should ask a friend or family member if they can care for your horse while you isolate.

What can I do to prepare in case I need to self-isolate?

The most important thing you can do is to have a plan in place in case you need to self-isolate.

Buddy up

We recommend having another horse owner as an ‘in case of emergency’. You’ll be able to call this person if you become ill and you can act the same for them, like a buddy system.

This person needs to have the following care information for your horse:

  • feed
  • where equipment is stored (and keys/codes if needed)
  • any medication
  • vet’s contact details
Note: Your buddy will need to be insured if handling your horse.

Keep in touch

Speak with your yard manager to see if they have an emergency plan for anyone having to self-isolate and find out what information they need from you to make this run smoothly.

Stay in touch with friends connected to your yard to keep up to date on any changes to yard policies and to create a wider buddy system.

We will continue to update this advice as information changes. Keep checking back for the latest updates.

— Page last updated 02/12/2021